As an international organization, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is well suited to its new president's goal in pursuing more globalization for the group.

As Ford Motor Co.'s executive engineer for production vehicle safety and compliance, SAE's new boss, John M. Leinonen, knows all about the industry's global trend. He says the society has a lot to offer engineers, particularly in Asian countries.

"Right now our biggest concentration is in South America and Brazil," says Mr. Leinonen. "But in Australia, Taiwan and particularly in China there is a real hunger for what SAE can provide."

The new president says people in Asia know and recognize the value of the society's services as well as its global databases. These offerings, along with educational projects, can help engineers all over the world stay very current, he says.

At home, SAE is especially valuable to engineers for learning team-based leadership skills, shifting from the old-style automaker authoritarian hierarchical management structures, he says.

His other goals for SAE in 1995 include aggressively continuing the society's work in areas such as the environment and total vehicle life-cycle analysis as well as powerplant-technologies for the early 21st century. Mr. Leinonen would also like to see SAE play a major role in helping the military redefine its tedious specifications, which are in the process of being revamped.

A Ford employee since 1960, Mr. Leinonen directs all activities of Ford's Automotive Safety Office, including vehicle safety assurance, safety regulations and planning, and production-vehicle safety and compliance.

He has been an SAE member since 1963, was a member of its board of directors from 1988-1990 and was instrumental in initiating SAE's Intelligent Vehicle Highway Systems Program Office.

Joining him as SAE directors for three-year terms will be seven people, none of whom are direct employees of automakers.

Elected to the SAE board are: James R. Grady, vice president-marketing, Borg-Warner Automotive Inc.; Alan H. Nye, professor of mechanical engineering, Rochester (NY) Institute of Technology; Steve Quan, senior human resources representative, Chevron Corp.; Eberhard Stotko, chairman of the European Automotive Initiative Group, Isen, Germany; Duane D. Tiede, manager of large 2WD tractor engineering, Case Corp.; K. Clark White, technology transfer and control officer, aeronautical projects office, NASA Ames Research Center; and Kenneth C. Wolfgram, engineering supervisor at Caterpillar Inc.'s Mining Vehicle Center.